An international comparison of HIV prevalence and incidence in blood donors and general population: a BEST Collaborative study

for the BEST Collaborative

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background and Objectives Efficiency in mitigating HIV transmission risk by transfusion may vary internationally. We compared HIV prevalence and incidence in blood donors across different jurisdictions in relation to those rates in the general population and differences in deferral practices.

    Materials and Methods Data from 2007 to 2016 were collected in Australia, Brazil (Sao Paulo), Canada, England, France, Italy, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain (Basque Country), USA (Vitalant) and Wales. For each country/region, the number of HIV antibody-positive donations and nucleic acid testing (NAT)-only-positive donations was broken down according to first-time or repeat donor status, along with the relevant denominators.

    Results There is a modest correlation between HIV prevalence among first-time donors and HIV prevalence in the general population. However, rates of HIV-positive donations in repeat donors, a proxy for incidence, do not correlate with incidence rates in the general population. Rates in donors from Italy and Basque Country, where deferral criteria for men having sex with men are less stringent, are higher compared with most other jurisdictions. Rates of NAT-only-positive donations are extremely low and do not differ significantly after adjustment for multiple comparisons.

    Conclusion Donor HIV rates are only weakly associated with those observed in the general population. Countries with less stringent deferral criteria have higher HIV rates in their donor population, but the rates remain very low.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1084-1093
    Number of pages10
    JournalVox Sanguinis
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    Nicholas O’Sullivan, Welsh Blood Service helped in providing the data. All authors contributed to the design, reviewed model outputs and contributed to interpretation. YG performed the analysis. MG and PT drafted the manuscript and all authors revised it critically. All authors approved of the submitted version.

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2021 International Society of Blood Transfusion


    • NAT testing
    • blood donation testing
    • blood safety
    • donors
    • epidemiology
    • transfusion – transmissible infections


    Dive into the research topics of 'An international comparison of HIV prevalence and incidence in blood donors and general population: a BEST Collaborative study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this